Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

The Blurb:

“Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life…as only a dog could tell it.”


What I thought:

I am not just a sucker for books about / narrated by animals – I love them: In fact in real life I quite often prefer animals to people. Some of my favourite books ever are Life of Pi, Animal Farm and Water for Elephants so why this book has sat on my shelf for the last few years in anyones guess. Anyway, this lovely dog finally got his moment as I curled up to read his tale.

The book is narrated by Enzo, who starts off by telling us that he is an elderly dog and knows he is not long for this world and feels that he is ready for what comes next (i.e. dying and then coming back as a man in his next life):

“In Mongolia, when a dog dies, he is buried high in the hills so people cannot walk on his grave. The dog’s master whispers into the dog’s ear his wishes that the dog will return as a man in his next life. The his tail is cut off and put beneath his head, and a piece of meat or fat is placed in his mouth to sutstain his soul on its journey; before he is reincarnated, the dog’s soul is freed to travel the land, to run across the high desert plains for as long as he would like.

I learned that from a program on the National Geographic Channel, so I believe it is true. Not all dogs return as men, they say; only those who are ready.

I am ready.”

If you have ever wondered what’s on a dogs mind then look no further. Enzo is a wonderful character and narrator, and he takes the reader on a wonderful, funny, heartbreaking and memorable journey. Enzo’s master, Dennis, works in a BMW garage but his one big ambition is to make it as a Formula-1 driver. This is where Enzo’s passion for racing comes in as he has spent many an hour watching the sport on the TV with Dennis and also when he is left at home for long periods the racing channel is often left on for him to watch while he is on his own. When Dennis gets married and has a little girl, Zoe, Enzo has a whole new family to dote on and it is their life (with it many ups and downs) that he takes us on a journey with.

I loved Enzo’s quiet wisdom, his loyalty and his philosophy. He is a brilliantly insicive, clever, witty and sensitive dog:

““…I don’t understand why people insist on pitting the concepts of evolution and creating against each other. Why can’t they see that spiritualism and science are one? That bodies evolve and sols evolve and the universe is a fluid place that marries them both in a wonderful package called a human being. What’s wrong with that idea?”

Yes, there are some heartbreaking moments but I promise that you will smile through the tears. If you’ve ever loved an animal / pet or ever wondered what they think and feel and what happens when they’re gone then give this book a go. I adored it.

(source: this book is from my own shelves)

And now here’s a treat – just because I absolutely love this dog. This You Tube clip is doing the rounds at the moment and I can’t stop laughing. So for all you dog fans out there (and even if you’re not) you’ll love this! Enjoy! 🙂


7 thoughts on “Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

  1. Thanks for that funny video!

    I read this book too while I really am NOT one for liking animal narrators. But guess what? I really enjoyed the book. I don’t even know why I picked it up because I was really not sure about it. It turned out to be a great book!


  2. Enzo was amazing wasn’t he? My book club was burned once by a talking dog book (I will not name it – but boy…. we all agreed it was a waste of a good tree). When I read this one, I was super cautious as I did not want that waste of time again but wow…. well, you know. It is an awesoem book!


  3. i have Enzo waiting patiently for me on my shelf, like the good boy that he is. your review is a reminder of why i should go pet him and give him some attention.


  4. Pingback: Current Bestsellers | Bestsellers

  5. Pingback: Current Bestsellers « Bestsellers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s